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    Installed in 1970, Muni’s current train management system is disjointed and obsolete. When problems arise, it can take longer for technicians and engineers to pinpoint the issue than to actually fix the glitch, according to John Haley, Muni’s director of transit...A new $24.1 million communications network is up for approval today with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, Muni’s governing body.

    SF Examiner
  • Supervisor Scott Wiener hasn't had the best luck lately convincing his board colleagues that Muni is in desperate, desperate need of more money to make its service more reliable, so on Tuesday he plans to take a new tack: link any disruption in transit service with cold, hard cash. "When a train breaks down in the subway, it doesn't happen in a vacuum," Wiener said... "Multiple Muni lines are affected, workers are delayed, commercial activity slows, and our economy suffers. These disruptions discourage people from using Muni, which results in increased vehicle congestion and negative environmental impacts. By quantifying the effects of Muni meltdowns, we will see how essential a well-funded, efficient transportation system is to our city's vitality."

    SF Chronicle
  • ...Sudden swings in the price of gas have become an ugly fact of life in the Golden State. Last October's run-up was the worst to date, with California's average price for a gallon of regular jumping 51 cents in less than two weeks to $4.67, a new record....Energy economist Severin Borenstein suggests that if a refinery fire or other problem cuts gas supplies in California, let the oil companies sell out-of-state gas here. Make them pay the state a fee for doing so, and use the cash to cut air pollution in other ways.

    SF Chronicle
  •  A team of researchers at the Berkeley-affiliated Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis is designing artificial leaves that can convert sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into chemical fuel, as with the photosynthesis of flowers and trees. The team has already built a crude prototype from silicon, polymers and platinum that can create a simple and clean hydrogen fuel, but if they can figure out how to cheaply produce more complicated energy sources, it would enable mass production of "drop-in" fuels that could power automobiles, trucks, planes and ships without pumping more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

    SF Chronicle
  • Chemical engineers at UC Berkeley have created a new, cleaner fuel out of an old concoction that was once used to make explosives. The fuel, which uses a century-old fermentation process to transform plant material into a propellant, could eventually replace gasoline and drastically cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, according to the team of Berkeley scientists.

    SF Chronicle
  •  Amtrak’s fiscal 2012 operating loss was the lowest in nearly 38 years, which is a sign of progress, Joseph Boardman, the railroad’s president and CEO, said Thursday. The $361 million loss for the year ending Sept. 30 was down 19 percent from the previous year. In a conference call with reporters, Boardman also laid out an agenda for this year that includes delivery of the first of 70 new electric locomotives and 130 long-distance passenger cars, expansion of the Acela Express high-speed service in the Northeast with an additional New York-Washington round trip, and beginning the work necessary to acquire new high-speed trains.

    Boston Globe
  • The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration pro- duces the Pocket Guide to Transportation as a compact resource that provides snapshots of data on the U.S. transportation system and highlights major transportation trends. The Pocket Guide contains a wealth of informa- tion that supports the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Strategic Goals.

  • Fewer kids were injured during early morning and after school hours once new traffic lights, pedestrian signals and speed bumps were put around New York City schools, according to a new study....As a result of Safe Routes to School, the city's Department of Transportation undertook safety improvements at the 124 New York City schools (out of a total of 1,471) with the highest injury rates in the city.

  • Smart parking network startup Streetline has raised $25 million in a Series C round of investment, both to expand its work with cities that use its networked sensors and software platforms to connect drivers to parking spaces, and to explore how to make that network connect to the “Internet of Things.”... Last month, Streetline and Cisco joined up to network much of the downtown sections of Bay Area cities San Mateo and San Carlos. Cisco said it was specifically interested in learning how it can use the WirelessHART networks that Streetline sets up to connect not only parking,  but other city services, into its “Internet of Things” aspirations.

    Greentech Media
  • Flight delays are the bane of any traveller. They also have an economic impact, an estimated of $40 billion per year in the US alone, according to the 2008 Report of the Congress Joint Economic Committee. So a better understanding of the nature of flight delays is surely of great interest. Today, Pablo Fleurquin at the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems in Spain, and a couple of pals, reveal a unique approach to this problem that shows how flight delays spread across the US. Fleurquin and co begin by thinking about the air transportation system as a network in which airports are nodes and the flights between them edges.

    Technology Review